Jan 18, 2018
Marcus Santoro's Exclusive Mix
We’re excited to be joined today by one of the rising stars in progressive trance scene. After becoming a staple on Enhanced Progressive the past few years with hits such as “Flashpoint” and “There Is Only You,” his unique sound and quality productions earned him recent official remixes on Axtone and A State Of Trance. Marcus joined us to discuss remixing both Shapov and Thomas Gold, highlight many of his inspirations and closest industry friends, as well as deliver a mix perfectly encapsulating the intersection of big room, trance, and progressive. Enjoy!
How’d you approach your mix and how does your track selection compare to a current club set of yours?
I wanted to focus purely on more melodic content in this mix, showcasing some of the music I am enjoying a lot lately, as well as featuring some exclusive forthcoming material from myself. My DJ sets have been more on the progressive trance side of things so fans can expect to hear lots of energy, vocals and chords. In this mix, I’ve captured the crossover between big room & trance and I feel that it works really well!
Can you highlight three tracks within your mix and why they stand out to you?
1. Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford – “Northern Soul.” When Above & Beyond debuted this for the first time at ABGT250 at The Gorge, I fell in love instantly with the groove, the vocals and the overall vibe. It captures such a strong feeling, it hits hard on the dance floor and there’s plenty of moments to throw your hands up in the air and let go. I have had it on repeat since its release!
2.Corey James feat. HENKO – “Back In Time.” I’m glad to consider Corey one of my close friends in the industry and when I heard “Back In Time,” I knew it was going to be an instant hit! I first heard him play this live during ADE at Nicky Romero’s 5 Years Of Protocol event and I was taken aback by how big it sounded. One of the many exciting records from Corey James, 2018 will be huge for him!
3. Fatum – “Chocolate.” This record is just a proper party starter. I absolutely love the energy and the sound design in this one. Fatum have been big supporters of me in the past 12 months and I’m super keen for what is in store from them this year. This number just makes me want to keep moving.
You’re starting the year off strong with two big releases. Looking first at your remix of Shapov, can you take us through the production process going from initial inspiration to final tweaks? What does it mean to you to release on Axtone?
When Axtone contacted me about remixing this record, I was quite nervous at first, but super excited at the same time. I hadn’t done any progressive house/big room records in about 12 months so it felt amazing to go back to my roots and do this. I looked at artists like DubVision and Alesso for the inspiration, but overall I wanted to do something that felt right to me. The first response from Axtone was super positive so finishing it off was really great. To release on Axtone has always been one of the biggest and most important goals of my life. About seven years ago when I started working on music, artists like Axwell and Dirty South were the reason behind my inception into production and electronic music and I always wanted to work alongside them. I happened to meet the Axtone team during my time in Amsterdam and London back in October 2017, and I’m so glad with how it’s all worked out so far. I am super privileged to be a part of the Axtone family and look forward to working with them again in the near future!
Turning our attention to your Thomas Gold remix, how did the chance for the remix come about? When you first heard “Magic,” what elements stuck out to you?
Remixing Thomas Gold was awesome because he is an artist that I’d been following for some time over the past few years. I only had a deadline of 48 hours to complete this remix so I felt a little bit of pressure to do it, but I was super inspired straight away and got to work and the response was fantastic. What stuck out to me the most was the vocal from Jillian Edwards. She has a great tone and I really liked the overall theme of the song.
What did you want to preserve from the original in your remix and how do you feel that you’ve made the track your own?
The original of “Magic” is a lot slower and chilled and I wanted to do something more festival and main room oriented. Keeping the elements of the original was mainly the vocal and that uplifting vibe, and then I wanted to do my own thing and give my own spin on it.
At the end of last year, you had the unique challenge and honor of mixing the Enhanced Recordings Best of 2017 compilation. Can you talk about how you approached that task and what the experience was like?
Enhanced has become a part of my musical family the past two years since I moved into the trance scene. They’ve really believed in my sound and have been an amazing bunch of people to work with. I was lucky enough to compile the Best of 2016’s compilation after just joining them so when they asked me to mix the Best of 2017 again I was very humbled and honoured! 2017 was a big year for progressive trance, especially the artists on Enhanced…I am sure 2018 will be even bigger!
Playing at Transmission is certainly a highlight that we think any trance DJ has on their bucket list, and you had the opportunity to cross that off your list last year in Australia. Are there are any other shows or festivals that you hope to one day play?
Without a doubt, Transmission was the biggest experience of my life as a performer. I couldn’t believe I was playing at Etihad Stadium, the largest indoor arena in Australia, and playing alongside some of my childhood heroes such as Ferry Corsten, Aly & Fila, Markus Schulz and more was a dream come true. Of course there are many other festivals I would love to play including Ultra, Tomorrowland, ABGT and ASOT shows…I believe they capture the essence of what I am about as an artist and the music that I am passionate about.
We recently saw a serious throwback picture of you and WILL K together. Can you give us some more backstory to that picture and your relationship? Are there any other artists you are particularly close to?
I first met Will K back in Melbourne about 7 years ago and we connected instantly! A few weeks later we started showing each other our music, and started working together on some records. We released our first single together alongside Daniel Gregorio and Mitchell Thompson called “Open Your Eyes” back in 2013 on Neon Records. The best thing about our friendship is that we always dreamed of releasing on labels such as Axtone and we both accomplished it in our own personal pathways. He’s a great person, someone who inspires me everyday and continues to support me and I wish him all the very best. I am also close to many other artists back home here, some would be Ivan Gough who has been a big hero of mine for a while, the Feenixpawl boys and Jason Forte have also been big supporters and close friends for some years now. Also Corey James as I mentioned earlier is one of my close buddies so it’s great to be associated with these bunch of legends!
How is the rest of your 2018 shaping up? What are two goals that you are hoping to achieve this year?
2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year already! I’ve been working extremely hard on making everything happen this year. Kicking it off with Axtone has been a surreal experience and releasing on Armin van Buuren’s A State Of Trance imprint with my Thomas Gold remix is amazing as well. I have a new single out in February under Armada Music’s and Ruben De Ronde’s Statement! label, and an exclusive single forthcoming on an exciting mix compilation in March. I’m also working on many awesome collaborations with some artists I have followed for some time. I am also hoping to finally start touring overseas this year and meet the many fans from around the world! Overall, I’d like to continue just to keep feeling positive – work hard, inspire others and keep being happy doing what I love!
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